Bill Doraty’s car dealership in Medina, Ohio is currently facing lawsuits after displaying big blow up inflatable advertising above the store.
Doraty has been displaying a different inflatable character every month and usually chooses a suitable character for the particular season.
This has been the case since 2008 in an attempt to attract attention for the business; however, local residents have been fighting against these balloons since the beginning. The argument has been to court and back, divided township trustees and is now even fuelling a political campaign in the area.
The array of inflatable characters sets Doraty back around $1,500 a month but must clearly be drawing customers away from the neighbouring dealerships who have stuck to the townships rules prohibiting businesses from using such advertisements. Only homeowners in the area are able to display such items for the purposes of seasonal displays.
Due to this, the township has been sending Doraty legal citations each and every month when they spot the new character is up. Past characters have included; a witch, a bunny, Santa Clause and also a rather cute dog that waved proudly in the wind above the dealership. Inflatable advertising and displays may seem a minor issue to some but this recent case is not the only inflatable related argument to have taken place.
Earlier this year in January, well-known pop artist, Jeff Koons, had his lawyers send Park Life, a store in San Francisco, an order to stop it selling book-ends that had a look of balloon dogs. Koons’s lawyers argued that since the artist had created a set of sculptures of balloon dogs, all other depictions of balloon dogs therefore belonged to Koons, and any items sold or made in this likeness would infringe on Koons’s copyright.
The argument many people made regarding this case was that Jeff Koons had made his career on recreating something that existed before him, so how could he then argue that one of these creations was, to all intents and purposes, his and only his? Needless to say, the artist soon dropped his claim against the San Francisco outfit.